Cut Flower Conditioning

Proper Cut Flower Conditioning
Clean Buckets
• Clean all your buckets with bleach (or
effective green cleaner) & a scrub brush – to
kill bacteria, fungus, etc
• Rinse well
• Use plastic or glass containers – not metal –
it will corrode & contaminate the water
Cut Flower Food
• Mix the appropriate amount of cut flower food
– Improper mixtures can result in not providing enough biocides in
relation to sugars
• Using soda, aspirin or any other homemade mix isn’t as
effective as cut flower food because it isn’t measured out
correctly like cut flower food
• Cut Flower food contains:
Sugars (help provide energy in usable form)
Aging retarders(growth regulators)/color enhancers
Chemicals to quicken absorption of water (wetting agent)
Bacteria killers (biocides = germicide)
Acidifiers to lower pH (this helps with better absorption & less
bacterial growth)
• Warm –110 Degrees- like bath water – for most flowers
– Warm water helps remove air bubbles, making for easy water flow
up the stem (warm water contains less oxygen than cold)
– Warm water will also encourage flowers to open quicker
– Warm water absorbs faster because warm water molecules move
• Cool – for bulbs (daffodils, tulips) and any other flowers
that you don’t want to open too quickly
• Buckets should be filled 6-8” with water
• When flowers have been out of water the exposed outer cells dry out,
forming a callus, which will not absorb the water
– Additionally, air will have entered the stem, bacteria, and other pollutants
– preventing water absorption
• Cut about 1-3 inches off the stem
• Use a knife or very sharp pruners – if your tool is dull, it will crush the
plant cells and they won’t absorb
• Cutting under water will help prevent air bubbles, but can also pollute
the stems when the water becomes unclean
• Cut at an angle to keep the stem from sitting directly on the bottom of
the bucket, where debris, etc. will clog the stem (not proven)
• Cut between the internodes on flowers like carnations
Removing packaging & foliage
• All elastics & plastic should be removed, except
for roses and greens.
• If you keep roses wrapped up they won’t blow
open as fast. However, you cannot keep them
wrapped for more than a few days – they will rot.
• It is more effective to keep certain greens in
plastic rather than in buckets of water
• All foliage that would be in the water should be
removed – it will rot & clog the stems
– Be sure to avoid scraping the stems when removing
• Leave flowers out of the cooler for 3-5 hours so
they can absorb correctly
• Put roses in immediately
• Put bulb flowers in immediately
• Do not put tropical flowers (bird of paradise) in
the cooler – they should be at warmer
temperatures (so unless you have a special warmer
cooler for them, keep them out) Orchids can go in
the cooler.
• If your flowers are really dehydrated, you can
submerge the entire flower after it is cut into a tub
of water
Floral Coolers
• Do not keep food, especially fruits, in your floral
cooler – these items give off high amounts of
ethylene gas which speeds up aging. Dying
flowers will do the same so remove them.
• Coolers should be kept at 38- 40 degrees F,
tropical coolers at 55-60 F
• Relative humidity of 80%
• Must have a FLORAL cooler – non-floral coolers
have one large fan blowing fast air – this dries out
Change water in buckets
• You should recut stems and change the
water in buckets if possible every 3 days
• This will extend the vase life of the flower
• Vase water has bacteria, fungi, yeasts, &
mold which block xylem and produce
ethylene and toxins
Special Notes on Flowers
• Lillies – remove anthers to prevent staining &
pollination which will cause the flower to die
• Baby’s Breath – use warmer water to “pop” buds
• Bird-of-Paradise – manually open flower heads
• Calla – only 1” of water to minimize curling of
• Roses – remove outer damaged petals (this will
encourage opening as well); only remove thorns
that need it – this damages tissue & will cause
early death
• Daffodil – sap is harmful to other flowers when
conditioned; keep separate & do not recut stems
when designing
• Gerbera – use a rack in the bucket for support
• Hydrangea – dip in alum (spice/pickling)
• Snapdragons & Tulips – store in upright to prevent
• Gladiolus – remove top bud to encourage others to
• Poinsettias and other flowers that secret latex –
burn the end – this opens water conducting while
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